Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Perfecto Yasay Jr. has accepted the post as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs offered by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Peter Laviña, spokesman for Duterte, announced via Facebook on Wednesday that Yasay has buckled down to work even without a formal appointment yet.
“Hitting the ground running asap … Passing unto the incoming Foreign Affairs Sec lawyer Perfecto Yasay Jr. requests from various embassies for briefings on the new Duterte administration,” Laviña posted along with a photo with Yasay.
In an interview with reporters in Davao City of which Duterte is mayor, Yasay said he gladly accepted the position because he wanted to help the presumptive President.
The Davao City mayor had said Yasay can be Foreign Affairs chief for only a year if his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, would later opt for the DFA post.
Under poll rules, Cayetano cannot be appointed to a government post within a year after the elections.
Yasay said he is willing to stay as DFA secretary or give the position to Cayetano if the latter chooses it.
He added that he is willing to accept any job that Duterte may offer next year.
Cayetano still has three years to serve as senator.
Yasay, who comes from Davao City, was SEC chairman under the administration of Fidel Ramos.
He was among those who testified in the impeachment trial against then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 2000.
In an earlier interview with the diplomatic press, ad interim Foreign Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the next DFA chief should uphold existing foreign policy in handling a maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) between the Philippines and China.
“It’s important that [the next Foreign secretary has]an understanding of the complete scenario,” he added.
“That’s why we always say that foreign policy should be principles-based because if it is not, it will not be consistent,” Almendras said.